Thursday, April 29, 2004

Robotic traffic cones swarm on to highways.

Drudge linked to New Scientist: about this article.
"Herds of robotic traffic cones could soon be swarming onto a highway, closing down lanes and slowing the traffic.
The new road markers have been developed by Shane Farritor, a roboticist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in a bid to help reduce the $100 billion per year that the Department of Transportation estimates is lost to the US economy through accidents and delays caused by highway lane closures."

No pictures. Just as well. My imagination is good enough. Herds of traffic barrels attempting to corral unruly traffic. Herd of them charging down the freeways are sure to make great sport for the Houston area commutor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

New York Post Online Edition: entertainment

New York Post Online Edition: entertainment: "April 28, 2004 -- A giant-sized controversy is brewing over a baby adoption special on '20/20' - and sending ABC execs into a tailspin. Millions of viewers across the country watched in surprise over the weekend as the network aired a sensational promo for Friday's segment, which pits five desperate couples against each other for the privilege of adopting a 16-year-old's baby."

I don't get it. Outrage over Janet Jacksons 1/2 second breast exposure, and Clear Channel gets a $250K fine over Howard Stern. What is obscenty anyway? What about those Enzyte commerrcials? Do we really need this? How about a pass on these things, and not putting out rubbbish like winning a baby in a reality show?

Exress your Self!

I haven't seriously concidered getting a tatoo, but maybe something like this.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Tax Lesson 101

Tax Cuts - A Simple Lesson In Economics

This is how the cookie crumbles. Please read it carefully. Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh $7.
The eighth $12.
The ninth $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So, now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.

So, the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'?

The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being 'PAID' to eat their meal.

So, the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100%savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Eventually they'll want a piece of you, Chris

The People's Republic of Seabrook posted this tidbit.

You see these weird white guys getting overly patriotic, and they have their f****n' flag hats on, and their flag drawers, and their flag pickups. 'I'm American, man! I'm American! F*** all these f****n' foreigners!' There was a lot of accepted racism when the war started. 'I'm American, man! I'm American! F*** the French!' That was cool. Then 'I'm American, man! I'm American! F*** all these Arabs!' And that was cool. Then they went to: 'I'm American! I'm American! F*** all these illegal aliens!' Then I started listening, because I know that niggas and Jews is next.

- Chris Rock

Gmail Testing

As a Blogger I get an opportunity to Beta Test Google's new Webmail service. I have no real need for a web mail account, my SBC account comes with a boatload of addresses, and I am happy with the services I get. I couldn't resist checking it out. First of all I got to nab the address no numbers no funky spellings, although Gmail seems to find using periods in the name perfectly acceptable.

Gmail's controversy is all about their targeted ads, so far I haven't seen any of their ads. This may be because I have only sent PGP messages into it, or it may be just because Google doesn't have it working yet. Targeted advertisements don't really bother me, as long as they aren't gathering info and using it to provide their advertisers with a targeted list. In other words as long as they aren't using the info to spam me.

I've read that some folks are concerned that the Google suggestion that email being forever means that the emails can't be deleted. This would bother me. Users need to be able to get rid of emails that can cause a liability, or that could be potentially incriminating. Google does allow deletion. It isn't always automatic, and it isn't real straight forward, but anything moved to trash folder is deleted in 30 days or can be deleted instantly manually.

Gmail can be set up anonymously. No real email address is required (although recommended) and real name and personal data is not required. One can use a proxy for discretion.

My new Gmail address is I prefer to only recieve PGP encoded email at this address, MY public key is available on most public servers and from my site. My primary email address is still the same

Businesses whine about losing money during Beach party

Galveston County Daily News This article explains just how clueless Fertitta is.

The problem, said Tilman Fertitta, Landry’s president and CEO, is that Beach Party no longer lives up to its reputation for causing severe traffic congestion, yet some tourists still fear traveling here during the yearly event. As a result, a large part of the clientele that typically patronizes Landry’s tourist spots stayed away.

The reason people stayed away is that many places were closed, and roads were blocked off so that it was very difficult to get around. Locals either stayed home, or left the island to shop or go to a restaurant. Galveston is an unfriendly place to visit during "Beach Party". and visiters are well advised to stay away unless the city and the bussinesses decide to litterally take down the roadblocks and closed signs.

MSNBC - Beijing crushes a student group

MSNBC - Beijing crushes a student group in a report which describes not only how the Red Chinese government can infiltrate and crush dissension, but how any repressive government can do this. The unfolds how the group got together and what they were about. How the government uses innocence naivete, and threats to coerce information and recruit spies. These young people were guilty of wanting to make their home a better place. They are imprisoned for discussing forbiddin topics such as freedom, elections, and helping the unemployed.

This is from a "Most Favored Nation", Wallyworld can supply us with cheap goods. The Chinese, small nations they have overtaken, are the ones who must pay the price for the US turning a blind eye, and rewarding the Chinese goverment for abusing its people.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Wal-Mart symbolizing political divide

This artcle describes how the Walmart support is often divided into Democrat Republican issues. Th Democrats often speak out againt Walmart, and the Republicans tend to support Walmart. Wallyworld supports Republicans with more than a million dollars of support in the last 2 years. At issue are lower paying jobs and resisting unions. What has frosted me towards Walmart isn't just their love of purchasing Chinese goods, but their quiet turn around from the days when they bragged about being "Made in America"

New Nigerian Scam Blog: Best Scam Ever You have to check this one out. It can be fun to correspond with these and see how far you can lead them on. Play along and promise them the information.

Kappa weekend has fewer people and few problems

Galveston County Daily News reports that "Beach Party Weekend" has only 75,000 people the crowds are smaller for the 3rd consecutive year. Galveston has done the best that it can to discourage the visitors. Restricting access to the roads and closing businesses. The visitors are mostly black college students, which might explain the city's reluctance to welcome them.

What I don't understand is, why does the city react to extra traffic by closing off streets and blocking access. Side streets are blocked off so that everyone visitors and residents alike must drive all over the place to maneuver where to they are going. As we see it they are only increasing traffic by forcing everyone to drive more, and increasing traffic to an already busy road system. One would think that businesses would be excited because of the extra business. Many of them are closed with the parking lots baricaded. Excuses are thy steal us blind, and walk off without paying. Between 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday, Galveston police logged 39 arrests and sent 11 men to the city jail. These figures don't seem so bad for 75,000 party goers. Its a shame that Galveston can't be seen as more hospitable to its young visitors.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

The problem with goverment.

Funny Bill posted this in his blog.C.Y.A., Put Others At Risk

(USA Today) Cleveland, Ohio - Police and firefighters with jobs on the line during budget cuts last year want to know why the city's political jobs also weren't on the chopping block. Some want to amend the city charter to reduce the size of the City Council from 21 members. The $6.2 million annual budget to run the council is more than the budgets of Columbus and Cincinnati combined.

He also quotes the Cleveland Plain Dealer The city council while reluctent to cut their own numbers along with their staff are cutting away police and fire fighters, Apparently they believe their own job are more important than the public safety personel they wish to elliminate.

When Deanna Strefas realized her husband could be laid off as a Cleveland police officer late last year, she wondered why the city's political jobs weren't on the chopping block, too.

After all, Cleveland's City Council is bigger and costs more than those of Columbus and Cincinnati combined.

Strefas wasn't alone. Many members of the safety forces complained during last year's budget cuts that Cleveland's council was too big and cost too much, especially with population on the decline. Some called for amending the city charter to reduce the council's size - something that hasn't been done since 1981.

Questions linger today: Does the city still need 21 council members? Can't it save big chunks of money by reducing the number?

City Council, and the 46 staff members who work for it, cost the city $6.2 million. Each council member makes nearly $68,000 a year.

"That money is twice or three times what their constituents make," Strefas said. "The people paying taxes aren't winning."

Members of council insist that residents get better representation and quicker responses because they, with relatively small wards, are in touch with communities. And residents have come to expect a wide array of services from their representatives.

"We have a more up-close view," said first-term Councilman Kevin Conwell, who represents parts of Glenville and University Circle. "The neighbors knock on my door and say, 'I need a job, I need a roof on my house, I need a wheelchair ramp.' We have to be job developers, marriage counselors, anything they want us to be."


Linux users get some unexpected support.

The Salt Lake Tribune -- BayStar hits SCO with call for loan repayment Bay Star Capital is calling due its $20 million dollar loan to SCO. SCO's abillity to persue its litigation against IBM, Daimer Chrysler, Autozone and others for their use of Linux.
Laura DiDio, an analyst with the Yankee Group, called the BayStar development "distressing to SCO, its customers and other investors.
"If SCO is forced to comply, it could have an adverse impact on the company's financials and its ability to continue to wage the myriad high-profile legal battles," she said.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Brazoria court outlaws nudity on public beaches - Brazoria court outlaws nudity on public beaches
I don't know why Americans get so upset about naked breast. Bazoria County makes it illegal for women to go topless at the beach or just about anywhere.

Galveston takes a more reasoned approach:

Galveston and Galveston County follow the state regulation, said Maj. Vic Maceo, head of the Galveston County Sheriff's Department beach patrol.

"If a woman is sunbathing topless and not being sexually suggestive, we leave them alone as long as nobody complains," he said.

"If somebody complains, we ask them to put their top on or move to a more secluded part of the beach. They generally comply with that," he said. "We haven't had much trouble."

Fortunatly, Brazoria County's ordinance exempts women who are breast-feeding.

Private U.S. Citizens Urged to Leave Saudi Arabia

MyWay| Rueters
The State Department on Thursday "strongly urged" private U.S. citizens to leave Saudi Arabia as it announced plans to order some U.S. diplomats out the country because of security concerns.
"Private American citizens currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart," the State Department said in a travel advisory after it decided to send nonessential U.S. diplomats and all embassy family members home.

This is after Bin Laden promises safety to those who leave the Middle East. I don't mean to critisize the state departments warnings, but I think it makes a point about the couragousness of the decision and along with the unity of Europe to ignore Bin Ladens offer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Google's Gmail could be blocked

This BBC article describes how a new law is being drafted by Democratic Senator Liz Figueroa, who calls Gmail "an invasion of privacy". Gmail might not be the smartest thing to use. Webmail is not particularly secure, private nor safe, at least the typical usage isn't. Instead of letting the user decide if they wish to use the product. Sen Liz Figueroa believes she and her goverment know best. It comes as no surprise that this goofy idea to block gmail comes from a California Democrat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Scalia Apologizes for Reporters' audio - Information Authority for the Newspaper Industry Two reporters had their tapes seized by Federal Marshals When they recorded a speech given by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has apologized to the two reporters whose audio recorders were seized during a speech that the Justice gave last week at a high school in Hattiesburg, Miss.
In a letter to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Lucy Dalglish, Scalia said he didn't approve of the actions by a U.S. Marshal, who seized the recorders and ordered the recordings erased. "You were correct that the action was not taken at my direction; I was upset as you were," Scalia wrote. "I have written to the reporters involved, extending my apology."

The reporters are employees of The Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American.

Ok, mistakes were made. Not much damage done, other than some hurt feelings, and some reporters getting a taste of the brownboots. Its ironic when you think of the Supreme Court suposed to be the protectors of our rights.

Scalia also told Dalglish that he would revise his policy forbidding recordings of his public speaking events to allow recording for use by print media.

"We greatly appreciate Justice Scalia's prompt response to our letter," Dalglish said, in a statement. She did express disappointment that Scalia said he would not change his policy regarding television and radio recordings.

"The electronic media in the past respected my First Amendment right not to speak on radio or television when I do not wish to do so, and I am sure that courtesy will continue," Scalia wrote.

What is Scallia so afraid of? Is he afraid that someone will hear in his own words what he actually believes?

Monday, April 12, 2004

Off the Kuff

Off the Kuff I just like this blog, it contains a lot of raw polical reporting that focuses a lot on Houston and Texas. There is a lot to be learned reading these articles.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Did he really say this?

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today makes a pretty funny jab at Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Not that Kennedy's speech was entirely favorable to the president. Indeed, much of it was an anti-Bush rant. "In this administration," he said, "truth is the first casualty of policy," whatever that means. The Associated Press reports that Kennedy said, "This president has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon." And: "He has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people."

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

Blog Changes

I created titles today to make each posting easier to identify. Also installed a search. Many of the hits here are through search engines. It only makes sense that we make available a search engine for the site. I am using Freefind Search engine. If this doesn't work I will use Google's search engine. My intention is to keep this site as noncommercial as possible, and google requires another icon. Google does provide the engine and software to easily maintain and run this blog with the completely free Blogger Site. Another change I made was to put the Archive list more to the bottom. I hope these changes make the blog just a little more friendlier and easier to use for our visitors. Please feel free to make any comments or suggestions to me via email.

Thoughts on the 911 commission

The 9-11 commision is looking mpore and more like a political witch hunt. The proclaimed intention of the Commission was to find out whats broke and to fix it. The truth if we dig deep enough and look long enough we will find that 9-11 could have been avoided. The Agency's that monitor such things handle a huge amount of information that is constantly distilled before reports are made to the uper levels of goverment. The fact that no red flags were raised and that no alarms were made shouldn't be surprising, we just didn't expect such a massive attack.

The 9-11 commision is looking to place blame. Finger pointing and placing blame is not going to help prevent further attacks. Large goverments, particularly large democratic goverments are going to be reactive in nature. After the attacks it not only became obvious not only, to our leaders, but to us the people, that changes needed to be made. Flying became more secure, if more inconvienient, and cooperation between three letter agency's have been made cooperative, instead of defencively competitive. These changes were made before the commision had been proposed. So far there have been no more attacks since these changes have been instituted. Unfortunatly we will probably never know how many of these attacks have been thwarted.

The outcome of the commision is likely to be critical. How critical is not yet known. Perhaps the the critisism will be legitimate, but it most certainly won't be constructive. Its already known where inteligence and preparedness let us down. It just seems unlikely that this commision intends to do anything to make Americans any safer.

Saturday, April 10, 2004 - Area briefs report on Jon Matthew's case. Mathews was a popular KSEV Radio talk show host, until he was forced to resign, because of indecency chages. The Chronical Reports
RICHMOND -- The trial of former radio talk show host Jon Matthews, accused of indecency with a child, is scheduled to start June 28 in a state district court here.

State District Judge Brady Elliott on Monday scheduled the trial, Assistant District Attorney Suzy Morton said.

The charge, a third-degree felony, accuses Matthews, 59, of exposing himself to a girl under age 17 on Oct. 9. If convicted, he could be sentenced from two to 10 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.

Fort Bend's Herald Poster reports that there will also be a hearing on some motions schedualed for June 1st:
Judge Brady Elliott set a June 28 trial date for former KSEV radio talk-show host Jon Matthews Monday. Matthews stands accused of third-degree felony indecency to a child, having been indicted in November 2003 for the offense.

Suzy Morton, prosecutor for the case, said she and Matthews' defense attorney Stephen Doggett discussed several "standard" motions in the 268th District Court before Elliott. She said those motions include discovery motions such as for exculpatory evidence, or evidence that could aid the defense, and a motion to list potential extraneous offenses by the defense.

Morton said Elliott set a June 1 compliance date for the motions.

Investigations into Matthews began in October 2003 when a neighboring Sugar Land family reported an incident involving their child to the Sugar Land Police Department.

The Fort Bend County Grand Jury indicted Matthews in November, and he pleaded not guilty to the offense in his December arraignment. Matthews' appearance in court Monday marks his second since the arraignment.

He resigned from KSEV after his indictment, and also from the Fort Bend Star Newspaper, for which he wrote columns on Fort Bend County issues.

Matthews could be sentenced to probation or two to 10 years prison if found guilty.

News has been very limited on this scandal, especially concidering the that Mathews is a public figure. It sure looks like most of the media is shielding Mr. Matthews.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Watching Fox New's "War Stories" Its still an event that amazes me. I was one who never believed the Berlin wall would come down. Germany reunited in an a heroic way. Being reminded of this reminds me that we live in an incredible period of history.